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Nir Rosen’s Aftermath, an extraordinary feat of reporting, follows the contagious spread of radicalism and sectarian violence that the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the ensuing civil war have unleashed in the Muslim world.
Rosen—who the Weekly Standard once bitterly complained has “great access to the Baathists and jihadists who make up the Iraqi insurgency”— has spent nearly a decade among warriors and militants who have been challenging American power in the Muslim world. In Aftermath, he tells their story, showing the other side of the U.S. war on terror, traveling from the battle-scarred streets of Baghdad to the alleys, villages, refugee camps, mosques, and killing grounds of Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and finally Afghanistan, where Rosen has a terrifying encounter with the Taliban as their “guest,” and witnesses the new Obama surge fizzling in southern Afghanistan.
Rosen was one of the few Westerners to venture inside the mosques of Baghdad to witness the first stirrings of sectarian hatred in the months after the U.S. invasion. He shows how weapons, tactics, and sectarian ideas from the civil war in Iraq penetrated neighboring countries and threatened their stability, especially Lebanon and Jordan, where new jihadist groups mushroomed. Moreover, he shows that the spread of violence at the street level is often the consequence of specific policies hatched in Washington, D.C. Rosen offers a seminal and provocative account of the surge, told from the perspective of U.S. troops on the ground, the Iraqi security forces, Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents that were both allies and adversaries. He also tells the story of what happened to these militias once they outlived their usefulness to the Americans.
Aftermath is both a unique personal history and an unsparing account of what America has wrought in Iraq and the region. The result is a hair-raising, 360-degree view of the modern battlefield its consequent humanitarian catastrophe, and the reality of counterinsurgency.
Nir Rosen AFTERMATH Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World
“A searing, first-hand account of the consequences of America’s ‘war on terrorism’ by one of the most respected voices on the Middle East. Honest, fearless, devastating. No one but Nir Rosen could have written this book.”
—Reza Aslan, author of No god but God and Beyond Fundamentalism
“A brilliantly told story of post invasion Iraq—and the Middle East’s descent into a sectarian hell mess we’ll all pay for generations to come. There’s no one out there more courageous or better equipped to tell it than Nir Rosen. And when Rosen speaks, I listen.”
—Robert Baer, author of See No Evil
“Nir Rosen has been reporting from Iraq for years the way it should be reported—from the inside out. He spends his time in Iraq not at American news conferences in the secure Green Zone, but in the villages and cities of the battered nation, interviewing the victims of Saddam Hussein as well as the victims of our seven-year-old war. His dispatches, and this book, reflect the madness of the mission.”
“Nir Rosen is always provocative—he makes you see another side of an issue. In Aftermath, Rosen, at great personal risk, captured how Iraqis, Lebanese and Afghans from across society view U.S. actions in their nations. You may disagree and you will probably be angry, but if you wish to understand these conflicts and their impacts into the future, you need to read this book.”
—Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, United States Marine Corps (Ret.), author, The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century
“For Americans, the story of U.S. military involvement in the Islamic world centers on ‘us’ not ‘them,’ with Afghans and Iraqis cast as victims or bystanders. In this brilliantly reported and deeply humane book, Nir Rosen demolishes this self-serving picture, depicting the relationship between the occupied and the occupiers in all its nuanced complexity.”
—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War
“If you think you understand the war in Iraq, or just think you should try to, read this book. This is a deep dive through the last seven years of America’s foray into the Middle East. No one will agree with everything here, but anyone interested in what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan will benefit from reading it.”
—Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco and The Gamble
“The world would be a more dangerous place without Nir Rosen’s Aftermath. His bracing recounting of the invasion of Iraq and subsequent insurgency, and blunt dissection of the myths surrounding the surge are an essential antidote to the complacency that has set in as America exits Iraq—and which could lead to similar debacles in the future.”
—Parag Khanna, author of The Second World: How Emerging Powers Are Redefining Global Competition in the Twenty-first Century
“Aftermath is a masterwork, the product of a life devoted to a relentless pursuit of the knowledge and understanding of strange men who walk in nearly unimaginable paths across the far places of the world. I first met Nir Rosen when we sat together on a panel discussion on the ‘Newshour.’ I wondered then how this quiet young man could have acquired so much expertise so early in life. By the time of our next meeting years later I had learned of his incredible persistence and willingness to go and sit among those whom most of us would fear to meet at all. Over the years I have come to expect to hear from him or of him in his wanderings in places so perilous that one would expect that only soldiers would venture there. Nir Rosen’s marvelous book is the record of the disaster that ignorance, often willful ignorance produced in Iraq, continues to produce in Afghanistan and is likely to produce in places like Yemen and Somalia. Read Aftermath and hope not to repeat this history.”
—Colonel Walter Patrick “Pat” Lang, United States Army (Ret.), former executive at the Defense Intelligence Agency
“It is a painful experience to read Nir Rosen’s highly informed account of the destruction of Iraq and the spread of the plague of sectarian violence incited by the invasion to Lebanon and beyond. The image this meticulously detailed rendition brings to mind is of a brutal ignoramus wielding a sledgehammer to smash a complex structure he does not understand, with unpredictable but predictably awful consequences. Amazingly, Rosen finds rays of hope in the ruins. No less compelling, and distressing, is his vivid account of his experiences in Taliban-controlled territory. An indispensable contribution to the understanding of great contemporary tragedies.”
“Nir Rosen has almost single handedly rescued the name of journalism in the Middle East from a class of reporters who function as courtiers and propagandists for the military and our political elite. Rosen’s fierce independence and honesty, as well as an ability to see the wars we are fighting from all sides, make his book exceptional for its nuance, complexity and insight into our bloody march through the Muslim world. Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World is a stark, unvarnished account of the folly of empire, the futility of violence as an instrument of reform and democracy and the gross ineptitude of our political and military class. Rosen lays before his readers the anguished voices and experiences of those we occupy. He does this with a sensitivity and cultural literacy that is as rare as it is essential. Aftermath is one of the most important contemporary accounts of America’s misguided ‘war on terror.’”
—Chris Hedges, author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and Empire of Illusion
“Nir Rosen has written a deeply reported, authoritative account of the American occupation of Iraq and the regional fallout from that adventure. Aftermath deepens our understanding of the events of the troubled past decade in a rich and satisfying manner. Rosen also gives voice, character and nuance to the Iraqi side of the story, which very few have had the courage or ability to do.”
—Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc., and The Osama bin Laden I Know
“As a reporter, Nir Rosen scares the dickens out of me. He’s willing to go where few will follow and to give voice to those who are rarely heard. His reporting is all the more precious because of it.”
—Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower
In the Belly of the Green Bird: The Triumph of the Martyrs in Iraq
Gentlemen, you have transformed
Translation: As‘ad Abu Khalil
Research support for this book was provided by